New Year, new books, barcodes and boxes

Books, Reading By Jan 20, 2021 13 Comments

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know we’re well into January but, here at Nut Press, things are getting off to a gentle and relaxing start. Given how last year turned out, the squirrels are feeling skittish enough as it is and we don’t want to spook 2021 into doing anything silly. And, while I may have taken the Christmas cards down, the fairy lights are staying up. They’re reassuring and comforting and I need them to brighten gloomy January days.

One upside of the lockdown restrictions and my family not wanting to linger in shops even when they were open was that they ended up giving me books for Christmas this year. (Okay, I had to buy and wrap some of them myself but no matter. Books are books.) A good friend gave me Caroline Scott’s When I Come Home Again, Gareth gave me the third of Rupert Everett’s autobiographies and Romy Hausmann’s Dear Child in the German original Liebes Kind, and Mum treated me to The Secret Life of Books by Tom Mole, The Bilingual Brain by Albert Costa, Burning the Books by Richard Ovenden and The All True Adventures and Rare Education of the Daredevil Daniel Bones by Owen Booth. That little lot should help to see me through this latest lockdown.

I might not have been posting here but it doesn’t mean that the squirrels and I have been doing nothing. Well, okay, the squirrels haven’t been doing much besides protesting that Christmas extends into January this year and lazing on the sofa eating leftover nutty treats, just because… but I’ve been tackling my stacks and storage boxes, attempting to organise and catalogue ALL THE BOOKS.

Rediscovering old friends…

Armed with my phone and the LibraryThing app, I’ve gone through all seventeen storage boxes of books (17, though?! – I had no idea there were quite that many upstairs) and they’re now scanned in and catalogued against the box, bookcase or trolley where I can find them in future. This should help when I’m having a conversation about a book and want to refer to it, or even finding one to read, and hopefully means the end of buying duplicates. (Keep an eye out for upcoming giveaways where I try and offload some of those!)

This whole exercise has been far more fun than I expected it to be and I’ve loved rediscovering some of the book treasure I own. I’m excited about getting down to some reading and I’m hoping this heralds the imminent return of my reading mojo, sadly missing-in-action for most of last year.

I’ve also managed to cull some books, with those heading to friends post-lockdown, one of whom volunteers at a library. Their departure will create space for others currently without a shelf to call home, most of which are currently on the dining table after clearing all the stacks of books from my office floor, and any new additions this year. What?! Don’t look at me like that. Where did I even mention a book buying ban?

In addition to the books, Gareth also gave me three more Billy bookcases for Christmas. Much to his astonishment and dismay, I’ve already filled them. It’s wonderful having (most of) my hardbacks in one place and they look so good when all shelved together. (I may have been visiting them regularly to admire them.)

I need to finish sorting out my office and cataloguing the rest of the books downstairs but this has been a great project to take on in the New Year and I can’t begin to tell you how much more relaxed I am already. My office no longer feels as if it’s encroaching upon me behind my back, while I sit at my desk, and my head is clearer for imposing some sense of order on my ever-growing book collection. Being able to find a book in a couple of minutes, rather than in the last place I look after an entire afternoon of searching for it, is fantastic.

Over to you: get any good books this Christmas? And have you started 2021 with any book-related projects?



  1. Fabulous post. I love the idea of keeping a record of my books, I did it by hand once and it did help to focus my mind. I definitely need more bookcases, definitely need to sort that out when the shops open up again. Hope your reading mojo returns x

    1. kath says:

      Thanks, Susan. I’m hopeful that my reading mojo is about to make a comeback, if I can only finish Shadow of Night!

      And I’ve kept a record of the books I’ve read for years now but now that books have taken over more than one room, I need to know where they are. I have a rough idea of where to look for them but over the past couple of years we’ve redecorated and things got moved around in the process, so it’s no longer straightforward!

      You’ve got something to look forward to when the shops re-open! Have fun choosing what to get and where everything will go, when you do in the meantime! x

  2. Kath I thought I was book potty you are way ahead of me. Fab blog. xx PS I will look out for the freebies.😉

    1. kath says:

      Haha! I’m sure you can catch up and thanks for popping over, Julie. Do look out for the giveaways, when they happen. I’ve already put a couple of books aside for you, so I might pop those in the post when I can. xx

  3. Susan Holder says:

    This is a lovely comforting post with lots of lovely things to look at! Your new bookcases look fab. Also, your posting about Library Thing is a good prod for me, because I started using it about two years ago, got quite a way with cataloguing books, and then sort of lapsed. Now I have no idea what’s catalogued and what’s not and I need to sort it out. Just when I was feeling smug about using it and then I went and messed it up – serves me right! Thanks for the prompt. And the gorgeous visuals which gave me bookshelf envy.

    And reading mojos come and go. It’ll be back! xx

    1. kath says:

      Thanks, Susan. I’m going to try and vary my posts a little more this year, after having mainly posted reviews for the past couple of years. And I always like having a peek at others bookshelves, so figured it was only fair to share mine.

      I think I did the same with LibraryThing – signed up a while ago, scanned some books in and then left off for some reason. I started scanning new arrivals again last year and decided that I needed to commit to cataloguing them all, or it would be a waste of time. I’ve found that it’s strangely calming to have a scanning session, and am enjoying it far more than the chore I was expecting it to be. Good luck if and when you decide to give LibraryThing another whirl!

  4. Susan Holder says:

    ps. Twinkly lights – lovely. Bring on all the pretty sparkly things this Winter.

    1. kath says:

      Definitely. Twinkly lights will see us through this. Friends in a Toronto book club tell me that they’ve been asked to keep up their Christmas lights to cheer everyone up and help see them through lockdown in the dark months, which I think is a gorgeous idea. Why do we take them down when we need them most??

  5. BookerTalk says:

    Rupert Everett is on his third autobiography? Does he really have that much to say!!
    Cataloguing is a pain of a task but the end result is so satisfying – I just have mine on a spreadsheet in Google so I can access it when I’m out and about. Well yes I know I can’t do that right now, but when life returns to some semblance of order it means I can refer to it while standing looking at book shop displays. What made you decide to go with Library Thing? I used to use it but found the platform not very intuitive

    1. kath says:

      He certainly is, Karen, and if you’re interested in what he has to say, then yes, he does! This one focuses on his time trying to make a film about Oscar Wilde’s last days – and how it was very nearly the end of him.

      I am warming to the idea of cataloguing my books, now that I’ve broken the back of it and can use it to find something. Do you keep one big spreadsheet or different ones for read and unread?

      I wanted to have something I could refer to when out and about, as well, and the LibraryThing app comes in handy here. I’ve also been using it at home to scan in new books and am trying to remember to do this, as and when new ones arrive. I did look at other home library apps but had used LibraryThing a few years back and some of my books were already uploaded there, so I decided to stick with it and finish the job I started. It has what I need – I don’t really need to use some of the features other apps have – it’s not as if I’m lending out books on any kind of scale and need to keep track of them. It was primarily for my own use, so that I could keep track of what I had and where it was. Finding books is already so much easier and I haven’t finished scanning everything in yet.

      1. BookerTalk says:

        I have one spreadsheet with columns for book title, author name, author’s country, publication date, date I acquired. Then I have a column headed Read in 2021, DNF 2021, Given away unread . When the year ends, I just make a copy of that worksheet and change 2021 to 2022 etc,

        1. kath says:

          Date acquired and Author’s country are a great idea – that must make finding books for geographical challenges SO much easier!

          Presumably when you roll it over at the year’s end, you keep all the books still unread on it?

          1. BookerTalk says:

            That’s right on both counts Kath. It’s a bit difficult sometimes to decide which country to assign to an author – Ishiguro being my recent challenge. I had put him down as Japan but actually he never lived there after the age of 5. So now I have him marked as British.

            Yes when I do the change over to the new year, I just delete all the ones I’ve read/given away so all the unread ones just carry over. Easy peasy

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